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College basketball: Catholic programs to break away from Big East

Published: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 11:56 p.m. CDT
DePaul forward Donnavan Kirk dunks against University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee forward James Haarsma during the Blue Demons' 85-50 nonconference victory Sunday in Rosemont.

After decades of dominance, the Big East is undergoing a seismic shift that will essentially make the conference unidentifiable, as DePaul and six other Catholic non-FBS programs will split.

DePaul, Marquette, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova held a conference call with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco on Thursday.

A source told the Tribune that the break did not happen Thursday, adding that a potential deal “literally changes by the hour” and it’s hard to know when it will be finalized.

Xavier, Butler, Dayton, St. Louis and Creighton could be candidates to join the defected Big East teams to form a 12-team league.

The Big East already has undergone major reconstruction in recent years.

Basketball programs Syracuse, West Virginia, Notre Dame and Louisville all have decided to leave. DePaul and Marquette left Conference USA in 2005 to join the Big East. But the conference looks far different now.

Boise State, Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston,  Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, SMU, Temple and Tulane have all been added to the conference, which has become increasingly football-centric.

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